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Publisher's Summary

In the first volume of a remarkable trilogy, Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Atkinson provides the definitive history of the second world war in North Africa.

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. An Army at Dawn begins on the eve of Operation TORCH, the daring amphibious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. After three days of hard fighting against the French, American, and British troops push deeper into North Africa.

But the confidence gained after several early victories soon wanes; casualties mount rapidly; battle plans prove ineffectual, and hope for a quick and decisive victory evaporates. The Allies discover that they are woefully unprepared to fight and win this war. North Africa becomes a proving ground: it is here that American officers learn how to lead, here that soldiers learn how to hate, here that an entire army learns what it will take to vanquish a formidable enemy.

Many great battle captains emerged in North Africa, including Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery. Atkinson brings these commanders vividly to life. He takes us to the front lines of every major battle - from Oran to Kasserine to Tunis. In North Africa, the Allied coalition came into its own, the enemy forever lost the initiative, and the United States - for the first time - began to act like a great power.

Atkinson casts a clear eye on the dark tragedies that haunt every war. The first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn is history of the highest order - brilliantly researched, rich with new material and surprising insights, the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization.

©2002 Rick Atkinson, All Rights Reserved (P)2002 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner, Non-Fiction, 2003

"[An] intellectually convincing and emotionally compelling narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating story...that is hard to stop reading, even though one knows the outcome." (Library Journal)
"An absolute masterpiece....This book is storytelling - and

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • Albany, CA, USA
  • 02-19-03

Abridging too far?

As an avid WWII buff and audible.com listener, I was looking forward to this history of the US Army in it's earliest campaign in the Atlantic Theater.

The first part of the campaign was a near-disaster, and it was fortunate the Americans had barely motivated Vichy French forces as its first oppenents. The Americans improved, but unfortunately, the British Allied Command retained their negative first impressions of the American Army until very late in the war. Eventually, thanks as much to advantages in air superiority and cryptological intelligence (both subjects not brought up much, although touched on - it is a history of the <ib>Army</ib>, after all) as to improved fighting qualities, the Allied forces prevailed.

The story is well told, albeit briefly. As someone who already knows the general outlines of the campaign, I was looking for detail and new analysis. I didn't get much, listening to this book.

I was interested enough in the book to take a look at it in our local B&N, and I found that the book is far richer in detail - and also had some decent maps, always a help in understanding. So, in my case, I found the abridgment too severe.

One other point: as the previous reviewer suggests, the author is not a professional narrator!

In conclusion, "An Army at Dawn" is interesting, and worth a listen, but it could have been much more. beta inappVoteInfo

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Another disappointing abridged version

The unabridged version would be excellent. The abridged version was full of gaps that continually interrupted the story line. I would not recommend downloading this version. It leaves one unfulfilled.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JR
  • 03-03-03

Disappointing but Informative

I wanted very badly to like this book. It's a part of WWII I would like to know more of. Unfortunately the book left me feeling flat. There was no passion. Even the battle descriptions were lacking. There is a lot of good information, but you really have to struggle to stay involved.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • LITLLE COMPTON, RI, USA
  • 04-22-06

Slow Death

A book filled with interesting facts and figures but beyond that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The pace of this story was deadly slow with little detail on the deployments, locations and directions of the battlefields or of the flow of armies. (Maybe the book had maps). This story lacked the emotion that is so desperately needed to make the history of a military campaign enjoyable, interesting and leaves you yearning for more.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Sandy Springs, GA, United States
  • 04-26-04

A Very well researched Book of Military History

This reading is for the casual observer of military history. It isn't for someone looking for a major in depth review of the Allied struggle in North Africa. It is abridged somewhat too much, even with a 7 plus hour length. If you really want to know the history of events in North Africa my recommendation is to read the book. Having said that, if you want to get an excellent outline of the North Africa campaign get this reading. Audible should offer the unabridged version.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Roger
  • Kent, OH, USA
  • 02-12-03

Army at Dawn or Yawn

Good informative war audio but lacking something. Maybe it's the
narrator's somewhat monotone presentation or maybe it's in the
repeating stories of conflict which sound familiarly the same.
As a history lesson it's OK but not overally interesting.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nate
  • Calamus, IA, USA
  • 12-20-05

Very good

I found the story behind the history to be very entertaining and informative. In addition, this text reminds the listener of the problems of assuming that the US has always been the great superpower. Historical figures are presented as they really were and that should be applauded. I am wishing that audible had an unabridged version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Less Known Fighting

Any additional comments?

This book sheds light on an area of WW2 that is less known. The fighting in D-Day was so much more covered. This is a really good book to fill in your knowledge of WW2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexis
  • San Marcos, TX, USA
  • 05-17-08

Brilliantly Told Untold Story

The African campaign comes to life in amazing detail with Atkinson's brutally honest retelling of the men and times that made the US Army. Brilliant even if you are not a WWII buff.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • Lecanto, FL, USA
  • 01-20-08

History - light

If your looking for a quick and somewhat detailed history of the north African campaign, then this may work for you.
It didn't for me. As an historical work, An Army at Dawn skips over too many details. But as a personal account it gets to dragged down into those same details. It is as if the author wanted to combine both a factual review and oral accounts into a single work. Unfortunately neither part worked that well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. P. Kennedy
  • 08-28-08

A must read.

Well written, well researched book. Draws you in and makes it very easy to understand the events. Nice to have an account from the allied point of view.
Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the second world war or indeed military history.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 02-25-08

Heavy duty history

This book is not for all military history buffs. The reading can be dense at time, not boring, just full of facts and details. It is very well written and is the result of a vast amount of well thought out and organized research. Although it has some, I wish it were laiden with more personal accounts and quotes which gives you more a feeling of being told a story rather than reading history.